Wednesday 27 December 2017


My Top 10 Favourite Reads of 2017

Since starting my Goodreads challenges I've been reading 125+ books in a single year... until 2016. Last year I still racked up just over 100 books, but this year life and work was busier than ever before and I didn't even make the 100 mark. Still, I was a lot pickier with the books I choose to get the most out of my limited reading time, meaning that the vast majority were ones I thoroughly enjoyed. Out of the 96 books I read in 2017, most were young adult and lifestyle non-fiction. Though while 7 out of my top 10 books can be classified as YA, just one is non-fiction and there are three adult novels in there too – two of which are crime/thriller, which I hardly ever read before 2017. So it's been a pretty eclectic reading year for me and I can't wait to continue to explore different genres and authors in 2018. For now, here are my top 10 picks from my 2017 reads!

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan (Simon & Schuster)

Though not published until 2018 I read this book in 2017, which is why I'm including it. You don't know what the word 'gripping' means until you've read Anatomy of a Scandal. What a privilege it has been to discover the world so meticulously created by author Sarah Vaughan. Focusing on an alleged rape case involving a well-known fictional politician, this is a court room thriller, political thriller and marriage thriller all wrapped into one incredibly gripping package. This is actually not the genre of novels I generally tend to read, but I have loved Sarah's books all the way back to The Art of Baking Blind and the hugely intriguing concept completely pulled me in. With incredible plotting and story developments, and amazingly complex characters, this is one book you cannot miss in 2018. I'll publish my full review early on in the new year too! Pre-order your copy here.

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz (Century)

I'm not usually the murder mystery type either, but I am a huge fan of Anthony Horowitz's diverse work (especially the Alex Rider series) and so I picked this one up on a whim, and wow am I glad that I did. Horowitz has taken his expertise of old-fashioned detectiving from his time writing Sherlock Holmes and placed the story in a contemporary setting... with himself as the Watson-like side-kick to an unlikeable but whip-smart consultant to the police force! The original murder mystery is interwoven with real moments from Horowitz's life, creating a meta-fictional and extremely gripping read that I was unable to put down. Holmes and Watson who? More Hawthorne and Horowitz please! Get your copy here.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Vintage)

While my top 10 isn't in a particular order, if it was When Breath Becomes Air would be the indisputable number one of 2017 for me. When Paul Kalanithi is diagnosed with incurable cancer he not only views and feels the harrowing diagnosis from a patient's point of view, but from an expert's one as well. Having nearly completed his training to become a neurosurgeon he knows all too well the faith that lies ahead of him. His lifetime fascination with the human psyche and the meaning of life suddenly get an entirely different perspective and he's on the clock trying to figure out what path is the right one for him in his considerably shortened life. Doctor? Writer? Father? This was a powerful and fascinating read as Kalanithi's clinical observations blended with the emotional and personal. Its inevitable ending didn't make those final pages any less impactful, merely making the reader more acutely aware of their own mortality. Twenty year plans shouldn't be the be all and and all, Kalantithi was forced to realise, and his journey and decision are now captured forever within the pages of his inspirational book. Get your copy here.

The Amazing Book is Not on Fire by Dan Howell & Phil Lester (Ebury)

I've become pretty obsessed with YouTube in 2017, it's a great form of escapism and its short-form content makes it ideal for a quick watch before leaving the house in the morning or 'just one more video' after coming home late at night (though, we all know it's never just one more video). Two YouTubers I've enjoyed are Dan and Phil; self-proclaimed nerds who on their channels share awkward and embarrassing stories, funny sketches and gaming let's plays. Their banter is hilarious and provides the perfect antidote to stressed out work days and general life blerghness, and their Amazing Book is Not on Fire translates their humour and wit onto the written page. Along the way you'll get insights into their lives before YouTube, the start of their channels and their friendship, travels, and written versions of some of their most well-known video series. A great book not only for anyone who's already an avid viewer of their videos, but also for those who can appreciate good banter and are on the market for a funny book to make them smile. Get your copy here.

Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller (Rock the Boat)

Kids getting stuck in a virtual game and having to fight for their lives against computer pixels perhaps isn't an entirely new concept (see also Sword Art Online, for example), but the execution in this fast-paced page-turner by actor Jason Segel and his writing partner Kirsten Miller was refreshing and unexpected, and this was one of those occasions where it was near impossible to close the book when my commute was over as I *had* to know how it would continue. Interestingly, protagonist Simon wasn't someone I was particularly fond of, but the exciting world-building both in the real world and the virtual one, the highly riveting conspiracy theory story, and the fascinating side characters I want to explore in more detail is what made this book so gripping and fascinating to me. (Read my full review.) Get your copy here.

Lost Boy by Christina Henry (Titan Books)

While the Disney adaptation imprinted on most people's memories glossed over the more cruel side to Peter Pan in J.M. Barrie's source material, Christina Henry doesn't skip the darker side of Neverland in her version, which shows the origin stories of some of the most famous characters in literature. It was twisty, unexpected, and made such complete sense. And the way she spun the story, turning everything we thought we ever knew about Peter Pan around, was as inspired as it was horrific. My only advice would be to avoid any and all reviews for Lost Boy as much as you can, as even the tagline on the US version spoils its greatest twist. And it's far more exciting to unravel the clues yourself until that devastating ending. Trust me. (Read my full review.) Get your copy here.

Vanilla by Billy Merrell (Scholastic)

Vanilla caught my interest because of it being written in verse, something you don't come across often within YA fiction. I am a big admirer of what Sarah Crossan has done with One and Moonrise (the latter is also part of my top 10 for 2017), which are both told in verse, and I was curious to see how this way of storytelling would work with another author's voice. And I can say that it was incredible! Though using less words than an average novel, this approach conveys so much more meaning and emotion and it really allows the reader to understand the characters on a much deeper level. The story of Vanilla was a beautiful one as well as it was an eyeopening and thought-provoking exploration of gender identity and sexuality. Diversity as a theme might be 'hot' in the YA community right now but don't let that make you think this is a book just jumping on that bandwagon. It was honest, raw and evocative, and a worthy addition to any contemporary YA reader's collection. (Read my full review.) Get your copy here.

Moonrise by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)

The flashbacks of brothers Joe and Ed growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, interwoven with the present timeline where now 17-year-old Joe moves to Texas to see his brother again for the first time in 10 years as the date for Ed's execution nears was absolutely harrowing. This was a book that really got to me on an emotional level because of its heart-wrenching subject matter tearing a family apart. And yet there were also tender strands of hopefulness woven throughout that didn't just make this a difficult read – as I smiled along with the brothers reminiscing about sillier times too. And while I thought that after falling in love with Sara Crossan's aforementioned One, reading another novel by her hand I wouldn't be quite as impressed by her use of verse, I couldn't have been more wrong. Her carefully chosen words and sentence structure added such an emphasis to the story that a mere few words on the page could feel like a punch in the gut. Another incredible novel. (Read my full review.) Get your copy here.

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer (Bloomsbury)

This is another one that isn't published until 2018, but I'm including as I read it this year. More Than We Can Tell was a deeply touching and shocking contemporary YA tackling big issues such as cyber bullying, abuse, divorce and some of the terrible things that happen in the foster care system. It was an uncomfortable read at times but for that very same reason it was also a must-read. It provides a very powerful look at the difficulties of growing up in the 21st century and some of the incredible hardships teenagers have to deal with today. Protagonists Rev and Emma were well-developed and interesting characters and felt like very real people that you can find in any high school today, creating an instant emotional connection with them. This isn't an easy book to read, but it's a hugely important one. I got a lump in my throat several times and I doubt most people can keep it dry when discovering the characters' back stories. Look out for my full review in early 2018! Pre-order here.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (Random House)

Maddie is allergic to everything, which means she doesn't leave her home. At all. For the most part she's content spending all of her time with her mum and her carer, but when new neighbours move in next door, including a very cute boy her own age, she sneaks behind her mother's back to see him – regardless of the dangers of bringing him, and everything she's allergic to, into her home. The concept of Everything, Everything was incredibly unique, exploring Maddie's illness and all its consequences in a raw and honest way. I may not have been a huge fan of *that* ending, but it certainly made it memorable and made me want to reread the book looking for hidden clues along the way. Everything, Everything was lovely, heartbreaking, frustrating and fascinating all at once. Definitely worth the hype and I'm very excited so see the film next! Get your copy here.

And those are my favourite reads of the year! What books did you love in 2017? Let me know in the comments below 😊

🎵 Listening to: Sam Smith – Too Good At Goodbyes
🔹 Mood: Sleepy


  1. Always love catching up with people's favourites from the year!

    1. Me too, I always find reads I missed out on during the year :)

  2. I haven't read any of these but it is a great list!


    1. Thanks Megan, I definitely recommend you check them out!


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